Aligning and costing nutrition actions

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What is the planning and implementation cycle?


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Defeating malnutrition united in a truly coherent way is the new normal. Working across sectors is most effective when all sectors and stakeholder can mobilise around an agreed set of common results.

The ambitions reflected in the SUN Movement Strategy and Roadmap (2016-2020) reinforce in-country capacity so that actions to end malnutrition are fit for the challenge.

The planning and implementation cycle, detailed in the graphic to the right, describes this process and encourages all to to start with what exists and continuously improve for impact.

What is a Common Results Framework?

Across the SUN Movement, multi-sectoral nutrition plans, endorsed at the highest level, with national targets and costed actions that guide collective implmentation and resource allocation, are often identified as the Common Results Framework (CRF). How common results are documented is unique to each country. For example, Zimbabwe has a National Nutrition Strategy (2014 – 2018), Lao PDR has a National Nutrition Strategy to 2025 and a Plan of Action (2016-2020) and Sierra Leone has a Food and Nutrition Security Policy Implementation Plan (2013-2017).

Regardless of where or how it manifests itself, each step and interaction in the process of negotiating a CRF add value to the national policy and budget cycle. This collaborative and comprehensive analysis allows actors in country to harness their collective ambition and capacities to achieve scaled up results. A well developed CRF can be a powerful vehicle for national stakeholders to translate policy into action and results and to ensure accountability to each other and to those most affected by malnutrition.

Key trends from the 2016 SUN Movement Annual Progress Report

35 SUN Countries have a CRF in place and 9 more are developing them.

32 SUN Countries have action plans to achieve the goals set out in their CRF.

24 SUN Countries have CRF’s which are fully costed with a further 8 being costed.

View the full report  English  | Français | Español

Read this chapter Changing behaviours in SUN Countries

View a list of CRF's or contributing plans (April 2016)

How is a Common Results Framework developed?

The process of negotiating a Common Results Framework (CRF) across multiple sectors and with multiple partners means that challenges emerge.

Valuable lessons from SUN Countries in developing a CRF include:

  • It’s important to establish ownership from all stakeholders, otherwise it risks irrelevance.
  • Ensure the results and actions included in the CRF reflect the realities of people suffering from malnutrition and is grounded in evidence. Context is critical and there is no one size fits all approach.
  • There are variations among SUN Countries on which nutrition-sensitive strategies are incorporated into CRFs, which reflects the work underway within each country to establish appropriate nutrition-relevant goals in various sector plans – including health, agriculture, social protection and water and sanitation.
  • Cost estimates and implementation approaches are most useful if they are guided by agreed targets that are established on a yearly basis within a five-year or longer timeframe.
  • Actions are most likely to wield synergised and effective efforts if they pay specific attention to the nutritional needs of vulnerable individuals and communities.
  • Most plans currently include specific nutrition actions in the “first thousand days” window of opportunity between conception and a child’s second birthday.
  • While the health sector remains the main provider, clear links need to be established with other sectors to create the enabling environment that is required by children and women of reproductive age, including adolescent girls, to get effective benefits from nutrition-specific actions.
  • The development of local level plans informed by national recommendations is essential for effective implementation.
  • Agreed common results are most useful if they are translated into indicators for monitoring progress in implementation: 22 SUN Countries have developed frameworks for monitoring progress in implementation. However, not all frameworks include the data needed for the evaluation of progress toward national goals.

NEW! The first-ever checklist for quality national nutrition plans

front pageOn 19 December 2016, the UN Network for SUN and the SUN Movement Secretariat launched a checklist for good national nutrition plans, the first of its kind. There is strong consensus that harmonised support to national processes is a prerequisite for sustainable development. However, no standards or guidance has been made available to define what constitutes quality nutrition plans, which has led to the development of this Checklist.

Download the checklist English | Français | Español 


MQSUN Multi-Sectoral Planning Guidance Note English | Español


ENN Understanding the SUN Movement CRF English

How much does it cost to implement nutrition actions?

Costing of individual nutrition investments is an essential step in the process of mobilising resources, whether external or internal to a country. A number of global level efforts to calculate the cost have been undertaken to advocate for increased and more effective investments in nutrition. These include the World Bank estimates released at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015 which reveal that an additional USD $8.50 per child under 5 is needed to meet the global stunting targets by covering the scale up of high impact, proven interventions. This is equivalent to $49.6 billion additional over ten years which includes $42 billion for the 37 highest burden countries. Download the estimates: English

In April 2016, the first framework for investing in nutrition was launched by the World Bank, Results for Development Institute, and 1,000 Days in Washington D.C. The framework identifies that currently only $3.9 billion is spent on nutrition annually and that an additional $7 billion per year for the next 10 years is needed to reach four of the six global nutrition targets of the World Health Assembly (stunting, breastfeeding, anemia, and wasting targets).

How is a Common Results Framework costed?

Costing a Common Results Framework (CRF) is key to the process of prioritisating key actions, and in which sequence they need to occur. A costed CRF is not an end in itself: it is a tool in the process of conceptualising, planning, and initiating action. A 2014 Synthesis Report by the Institute of Development Studies (English | French | Spanish) analysed costed plans and helped SUN Countries and partners better assess and compare needs with existing resources.  As of 2016, Congo Brazzaville and Lao PDR are in the process of costing their CRF’s.

In June 2015, the Common Results Framework Planning Tool was launched to better understand costed nutrition actions in SUN Countries. The tool offers users an opportunity to standardise their conversations about nutrition planning and illustrates the multiple actions involved in organising and implementing a large scale nutrition initiative.

Access the CRF Planning Tool

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